Fourteen patients were treated over 2 years with cervical vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for adjunctive therapy of severe, treatment-resistant depression. Here, we report the serendipitous observation that this treatment was associated with highly significant, gradual weight loss despite the patients' report of not dieting or exercising. The weight loss was proportional to the initial BMI, that is, the more severe the obesity, the greater the weight loss. Weight loss did not correlate with changes in mood symptoms. The vagus nerve carries visceral information to and from the brain; modulation of its activity may alter eating behavior. Chronic cervical VNS may merit controlled study for the treatment of severe obesity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by NARSAD, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mark A Nugent Medical Foundation (St Paul, MN), NIH (Minnesota Obesity Center P30 DK 50456-02) and a research grant from Cyberonics Inc.
- Obesity treatment
- Treatment-resistant depression